Friday 7th April : DIAS astronomer wins ERC Advanced Grant with SFI support – no EASY feat
Professor Tom Ray of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) has been awarded one of the European Research Council’s (ERC) prestigious Advanced Grants to study the birth of stars and planets. Tom is an Irish astronomer whose work sheds light on what the Solar System would have looked like 5 billion years ago when it began to form. During this rather chaotic and turbulent period matter is not only gravitationally sucked onto a newborn star like the Sun but ejected as well in the form of highly supersonic jets that stretch for light-years.
His proposal, “Ejection Accretion Structures in Young Stellar Objects (YSOs)” with acronym EASY, aims to use the latest observing facilities, such as the James Webb Space Telescope, the European low frequency radio telescope LOFAR (with an Irish node funded by SFI currently under construction in Birr, County Offaly) and those of the European Southern Observatory, to improve our understanding of the complex processes involved. Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) awarded Prof Ray an ERC development grant and this was crucial in enabling him to obtain all the necessary international observatory agreements.
This round was highly competitive with only 9.6% of proposals being funded. The grant of just under 2M Euro will support seven research positions in DIAS.
Speaking on behalf of DIAS Prof Luke Drury, Director of the School of Cosmic Physics, said “We are all delighted for Tom. DIAS, like the ERC, is an organisation that believes in the pursuit of excellence and curiosity-driven research; this award is a vindication of that vision at the highest level”.
Graeme Horley, SFI Programme Manager and ERC National Contact Point said, “We are delighted that Tom has been successful in winning an ERC Advanced Grant. These awards are among the most highly sought after in Europe and are extremely difficult to win. We are particularly pleased that the support provided to Prof. Ray through our ERC Development Programme has helped in this success. We congratulate Tom and look forward to learning about the exciting developments from this project over the coming years”.
For further information contact:
Prof Tom Ray, School of Cosmic Physics, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies,
Phone 087 9062696
Dr Graeme Horley, Science Foundation Ireland, ERC National contact point,
ERC web site and list of awards: